February 21, 2005 @ 11:45 pm | Filed under: Books, Picture Book Spotlight
Dawn was just cracking over the hills. Ma was splitting kindling on the back porch.
“Woolie!” she called out. “Where in the hickory stick is Grandma?”
“Dunno,” said Woolie. “It’s not my turn to look for Grandma!”
I’ve been reading this book to my kids for eight or nine years, and it still makes us all giggle. April Halprin Wayland (author of another of our family favorites, the quiet and lovely To Rabbittown), depicts this quirky backwoods family with wit and warmth, and George Booth’s illustrations are a hoot. Ma, a hardworking backwoods mother, needs Grandma’s help and keeps sending the kids to fetch her—but Grandma’s too busy sliding down the haystack with her dirty old dog, or doing something similarly outlandish. She’s never too busy, however, for a banjo band…
The rollicking text is a joy to read aloud. The writing is fresh and lively, and the characters are pure originals—especially that dirty old dog and a pair of disreputable porcupines. George Booth’s art, which would be hilarious even without the words, captures them perfectly. If I had to narrow down our picture book collection to ten titles (horrific thought!), this one would make the cut for its never-fail ability to invoke the belly-laughs I love.